Doctors put tendon back, reconstruct sheath

Updated: November 10, 2004, 1:01 PM ET
Associated Press

BOSTON -- Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling had surgery Tuesday to repair his injured right ankle.

"The three-hour procedure proceeded as planned, with no complications," team doctor Bill Morgan, who performed the surgery, said in a statement.

Curt Schilling

Schilling pitched Game 6 of the AL Championship Series and Game 2 of the World Series last month with the torn sheath of his ankle tendon sutured into place so it wouldn't flop over the bone when he pitched.

The Red Sox won both games, setting the stage for Boston's first World Series championship in 86 years.

Doctors said Schilling's ankle and foot will be immobilized for about a month. He also needs six weeks of rehabilitation, so any delays might cause him to miss the start of spring training.

Schilling, acquired in a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks, earned a permanent position in Red Sox folklore when he pitched on the injured ankle during the playoffs.

He hurt it near the end of the regular season and tried to pitch Game 1 of the ALCS against the New York Yankees. Unable to push off the mound, he allowed six runs in three innings -- his worst postseason performance since 1993. The Yankees went on to take a 3-0 series lead and Schilling's season appeared over.

But the unprecedented suturing procedure enabled him to pitch in Game 6. With blood seeping through his sock, Schilling beat the Yankees, catapulting the Red Sox to an improbable comeback capped by a Game 7 victory.

He repeated the feat in Game 2 of the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals. Afterward, he said he could not have made his scheduled start in Game 6 of the Series, had it gone that far. But it became moot when the Red Sox swept the Cardinals.

The soft tissue that sheaths the ankle tendon had been ruptured, causing the tendon to dislocate. On Tuesday, doctors pushed the tendon back into place and reconstructed the sheath.

Despite being hampered by his ankle, Schilling traveled with President Bush before last week's election, campaigning on crutches in the battleground states of Ohio and Pennsylvania.

He is also considering raising money for charity by auctioning the bloody sock he wore during Game 2 of the World Series, said Scott Edelstein, special events coordinator for the ALS Association's Massachusetts chapter. Schilling has long contributed to the association, which funds research into amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press